Gut Rumbles

May 05, 2006

this ain't the Vietnam war

I've seen it myself (Hell--- I've DONE it myself) and I've read a LOT of blog posts about the same thing. I'm old enough to remember how troops coming home from Vietnam were treated by anti-war protesters and unwashed leftist scum at airports. Cursing and spitting sometimes were involved.

Not anymore, no matter how much that fact chaps the asses of anti-war dickheads and unwashed leftist scum. Our troops, returning or leaving, receive standing ovations and free drinks from grateful civilians in airports today. That's quite a change from the 1960s.

I'm glad to see it, too. I owe my freedom to those young folks.


I think it's despicable to treat anyone coming home from any way that way. Whether or not you agree with why they were there or what they were doing is irrelevant. They were there doing their job, sent by their government, doing what they were told. If you have a problem with governmental decisions regarding war, take it up with the bureaucrats who sent them and have some respect for those who were just DOING THEIR JOB!

Posted by: Lisa on May 5, 2006 07:16 AM

I served two tours in Vietnam and I suspect that the airport stories were mainly urban legends. I agree that there were demonstrations against the war, but I doubt a protestor wanted to take on a vet.

Consider that a physically fit vet may have been walking the hills for a year and might be confronted by a hoodlum whose sole exercise is lighting his reefer. Who would win the confrontation?

Posted by: George on May 5, 2006 08:06 AM

George, I don't think anti-war types have that much going on upstairs, y'know? Self-preservation is just so fascist.

Posted by: McGehee on May 5, 2006 11:57 AM

"I served two tours in Vietnam and I suspect that the airport stories were mainly urban legends. I agree that there were demonstrations against the war, but I doubt a protestor wanted to take on a vet."

George, you may want to check out a book called "The Spitting Image" that deals with this subject. The author is a former anti-war Vietnam Vet who determined that the image of the spat-upon veteran was largely a myth started by Nixon propogandists and nurtured by the media over the years.

having skimmed through the book, the author's methodology is VERY flawed--he seems to rely almost exclusively on multimedia and reports from former activists who stated that they never spat on vets, and almost no collaboration with a broad cross-section of former veterans. The book is coupled with an amatuerish application of psychoanalysis(indeed, the author seems to be projecting his own experiences as an activist onto the movement as a whole) of vets who do say they were spit on, despite the fact that oral histories are becoming an increasingly important part of the historical record.(I wonder of the author would similarly dismiss certain accounts by the "Band of Brothers" in Easy Company because he didn't see them in a local newspaper) Despite his apparent concern for refuting the popular image of the Vietnam vet as permanently and hopelessly scarred--a necessary effort, to be sure, as most Vietnam vets led perfectly normal lives--he unintentionally perpetuates the image most academic leftists seem to have of soldiers as eternally violent, baby-killing warmongers that has no self-control.

It's not a great book, but worth a read if you have some spare time.

Posted by: Chris on May 5, 2006 06:08 PM

I was a child when the Vietnam war occurred so have little personal frame of reference, but I am very familiar with the current, and historic, situation in Iraq.

I agree that the troops that serve this country should be welcomed home with open arms. Most likely, they've been through hell and God knows they need our support and understanding.

However, I do disagree about owing the soldiers who served in Vietnam or Iraq our freedom since neither country attacked or threatened us. I realize that one could take the word "threat" in a variety of ways, but I'm referring to a direct attack. As many Americans knew, and most are beginning to realize, Iraq was never a threat to the United States and the war therefore was immoral.

However, I'm proud of our men and women in uniform and pray that they all just return home safely.


Posted by: Gene on May 5, 2006 07:52 PM

You owe your freedom to the vietnam vets too. Yes, it was a fucked up stupid and useless war but the young men going there did not know that. They were just trying to do whats right and fight for their country too. Even today, most people have no respect for vietnam vets. How were the kids going to vitenam any different than the kids who went to the gulf war or the kids going to Iraq and Afghanistan today? Everybody that has ever served in the U.S military deserves respect unless of course they are one of the very few that murder innocent college students or a village full of nothing but women and children or some such shit. I say fuck anybody that disrespects any of our honorable military men and women. I still kick anyone's ass that tries to hand me shit on the subject. My two cents on the subject. It is one thing that really chaps my ass.

Posted by: assrot on May 5, 2006 07:59 PM

Goodness, I didn't mean to start any sort of discussion about Vietnam. But, first I'd like to comment to Gene.

Vietnam was part of the Cold War. If you weren't threatened by Soviet nukes at the time then you were living in an alternate universe. We finally won that war in Afghanistan (when we forced the Soviets out).

My world view is that the crazy islam stupidity that is going on now is one of the dying embers of the Cold War. This too shall pass.

In Vietnam, my unit, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) assisted many young communists to meet Marx/Lenin or whomever their diety was. And, you know what? I don't regret any of it.

Perhaps we should stop this dialogue; we won't change each other's opinions.

Posted by: George on May 5, 2006 11:48 PM

During the 70's, I was one of those long haired, weirdo, hippy-freaks. But, I still have my draft card. I keep it in a lock box to make sure nothing ever happens to it.

I grew up in a family of vets, and was always taught, this is your country, love it or leave it. If you stay, then be prepared to suit up and defend it.

No war is ever sane or rational. But when the Commander and Chief says you go, then you go.

I've been shot at on our home soil. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be in the throws of a fire fight. Or to know that that sweet young kid might be rigged to blow when you get close.
Our soldiers went and did their job. I have to salute and applaude them when they come home. It's the least they deserve for what they've been through.
In the military, you don't get to many choices.

Posted by: Wichi Dude on May 6, 2006 04:43 AM

I think we see too many movies and finally our sensibilities just shut down and we get calloused to reality.
Let me approach this by contrast. I remember spending a Christmas in the Navy in the Bermuda Islands. Everyone that had leave coming had gone home. We were down to whatever personnel the Navy set as a minimum. There was absolutely no one to talk to -- everyone was either drunk, gone home, or lost in their own thoughts.
I think most will agree that what we went through wasn't the worse thing in the world but still I would have preferred to avoid that situation.
Now, in contrast think about a GI in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq. Those two situations Bermuda at Christmas and a war zone are not comparable but they sure as shooting make a heck of a contrast.
Most of us will avoid being alone in a strange place in rotten weather at Christmas time.
At this point my contrast breaks down. How do you add, to what I've described, the misery index of having some guys trying to kill you? What misery index do you add to account for the knowledge that you may never see your loved ones again? How about the mud, the poor food, the parasites on your body? Remember, I was in the Navy where there is hot food for every meal and a clean bunk to sleep in. How about the misery index of doing your job while Hanoi Jane and her ilk try to convince everyone you are a dope taking (smoking?) baby killer that mistreats civilians like Senator Kerry tried to convince people? How about the 1001 things I can't mention because they are unimaginable to guys like me that have never been there? How about the media that mis represents the war & what you are doing just to sell advertizing space or time -- the politicians that sent you there to protect their sorry asses that suddenly start screaming about the immorality of The War? The list is endless.
You know? If you snatched a guy out of Vietnam, etc. and suddenly plunked him down to a Christmas away from home in Bermuda or at home with his family and those attendant problems he would think he was in hog heaven. Tell him that in another few month or six he would have vacation time coming and he would tell you he could handle that standing on his head.
I try to show those GIs in past, or present, war zones proper respect. But to show them proper respect demands that I understand. The contrast is too great so I can't do that -- but I try.
There is one more thing I can accomplish, maybe it is the most important of all. When the so called peace movement begins demonizing those servicemen and depicting them as unfeeling, uncaring sub humans I will remember those men's humanity. I will remember they are my neighbors and my friends.

Posted by: Ron on May 6, 2006 10:24 AM
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